85th anniversary: Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany, November 9-10, 1938

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1) United States Holocaust Museum, “KRISTALLNACHT; On November 9–10, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event came to be called Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes,” Holocaust Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/kristallnacht, Accessed November 9, 2023.

2) Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Disaster (2007).

3) William L. Schirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich ((1960), pp. 430-435 (50th anniversary edition).

4) Claire Luna, “Gerald Gunther, 75; Stanford Law Lecturer, Scholar (obituary),” Los Angeles Time#,August 2, 2002.


Gerald Gunther, the leading constitutional scholar of his generation, once recalled in me in a conversation in a small group (two or three people), his experience in his home town in Germany on Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938. He was 11 at the time, and soon emigrated with his family to the United States.

I had studied 29th century German History under Gordon A, Craig, a preeminent American historian of Germany, and Gunther was aware of my keen interest in Germany. My undergraduate Senior Honors Thesis on Germans’ reexamination of their past during the first postwar years (1945-1949) won the prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History at Stanford that year. At Stanford Law School the following year, I had the great privilege of taking Gunther’s Constitutional Law Class.

Kristallnacht launched the darkest phase of Nazi antisemitism which led to the Holocaust.

With incidents of antisemitism on the rise in America and elsewhere, we must remember what this virus of hatred has led to over the centuries, and we must redouble our efforts to give substance to the vow of “Never again!” by educating each new generation and doing everything we can to extirpate this evil virus from all of human consciousness.

The Trenchant Observer


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